Snails make slow but welcome return
Wednesday, November 9, 2011
An isolated population of rare land snail last recorded in Fife 110 years ago has been rediscovered.
The plaited door snail (Cochlodina laminata) sighting was received by our Fife Nature Records Centre (FRNC) – the team responsible for recording biodiversity in Fife - following a report from a member of the public. The snail, which has a distinctive corkscrew shell, was last recorded in West Fife near Oakley in 1901, and this recent discovery near Blairhall is thought to be the only known population in Fife.
The plaited door snail is found in woodlands and grazes on algae and lichen. Fife Coast and Countryside Trust is urging nature spotters keen to see the snail for themselves to check tree trunks, although at only 15 – 18mm long and with a dark red-brown shell, it is well camouflaged.
Alexa Tweddle, Information Officer, for Fife Coast and Countryside Trust, said: “The plaited door snail is only known to occur in a handful of places in Scotland, with the biggest concentration in Perthshire. To have a confirmed recording of a population in Fife for the first time in over 100 years is very exciting.
“Accurate and up-to-date species distribution maps are essential in targeting our conservation efforts. The Trust is always grateful to people out enjoying the countryside to contact us with any wildlife sightings – recording is fundamental if we are to adequately protect our native plants and animals.”
Fife’s first local biological records centre was founded in 1992 by Fife Council, and in 2008, FNRC became part of Fife Coast and Countryside Trust. FNRC’s role has developed over the years, but its main focus remains maintaining easily-accessible, up-to-date and high-quality biological information relating to the local area.